One of the world’s wealthiest families, the Waltons, whose patriarch Sam Walton founded Walmart, Inc., has built a fortune of more than $152 billion. Bloomberg recently wrote a profile piece about the family, discussing topics such as their philanthropy in the small Arkansas town where the company is headquartered and their strategy for successful succession planning.
As an advisor to families of great wealth, Delegate President Andy Hart commented to Bloomberg, providing context for the size of the family’s fortune.
“Outside of monarchies, this is one of the greatest fortunes ever amassed,” said Hart. “Monarchies and kingdoms came by birthright. This was earned.”
So how did the family successfully grow their business while also maintaining control of it?
“Their continued control reflects unusual prescience on the part of Sam Walton, who started preparing for succession in 1953, when he passed 80 percent of the family business to his four children: Alice, Rob, Jim and John,” reports Bloomberg. “That minimized estate taxes and helped the family retain control even as the company grew into the world’s largest retailer.”
As the third generation is rising in leadership, their influence has become noticeable in Bentonville, Ark. Among the family’s many philanthropic contributions to the town is a series of new bike trails, a project led by the Walton grandchildren who are making efforts to attract young talent to the area.
“Sam Walton would approve,” observes Bloomberg, citing his personal mantra of “operate globally, give back locally.”
The full Bloomberg article is available here.